In keeping with their desire to equally represent its three primary settlements, the Hope Town district Council held its November 24, 2015 monthly meeting in its Guana Cay office.
Questions arose on road speed signs promised much earlier. Chief Councillor Sweeting said neither Guana Cay, Man-O-War or Hope Town has received the promised signs. Apparently large trucks on the town’s few narrow town roads is becoming an issue, both their presence and speed.
Concerns were expressed about a section of the town’s waterfront road that is within several feet of the encroaching shore. It was suggested that spending a relative minor amount now to stop further erosion will prevent a huge expense later if the erosion reaches the road. The suggestion was noted.
Advice was given to a resident who is not receiving timely government responses on resolving recovered swamp land. It was suggested that initiating the legal Quieting process will probably get quicker results than waiting for government’s action.
A primary item on the agenda were plans submitted by the Baker’s Bay organization for a building permit application for a town community center. This is to satisfy a commitment in their Heads of Agreement negotiated in 2005 with government.
Items specified in the 2005 Heads of Agreement for the benefit of Guana Cay residents were a clinic, a police station, a fire station and fire engine along with an enclosed space suitable for public town functions.
No one from the Baker’s organization was present but several townspeople were there and reviewed the plans.
The 80,000 sq. ft. metal building is to be situated inside the present property gate close to the concrete commercial wharf. The present guard structure limiting access to the development is to be moved back allowing unfettered access to the building and the wharf.
The plans showed four rooms 12′ by 22′ for police, immigration, medical clinic and warehouse manager with two restrooms, one male and one female, for the entire complex. The larger part of the interior is to be a 33′ by 66′ warehouse. A public room for community use was shown to be 21′ by 78′. Stairs were shown to a mezzanine above the community area for future expansion.
With the many adverse comments by residents on the plans submitted, Mr. Sweeting requested that someone from Bakers come and clarify the development’s intentions. Those present expressed memories of a beautiful architectural rendering for a community center, not a square unadorned metal building whose primary function is a warehouse.
In due course Livingston Marshall, a vice president within the development and Gitano Bonomy, the development’s architect, arrived. Portions of the Heads of Agreement were quoted by a resident to Mr. Marshall who then explained the inclusion of the required features within the building.
So many questions were raised that the plans were deferred with a request for more details of the interior. Particularly how the 12′ by 22′ clinic is to be configured and how the similarly sized police space is to be configured.
Residents asked Mr. Marshall for a space on the public land Baker’s acquired from government suitable for a refuse depot. There is nowhere on Guana Cay to hold discarded appliances, junked golf carts and other items larger than normal household refuse. Space is wanted to hold these items pending an annual or semi-annual removal by barge. With some reservation, Mr. Marshall conceded that items that can be brought to the refuse container by “small truck” and thrown into the container are sent to the landfill in Marsh Harbour without objection.
A suggestion was that government should purchase from Baker’s a portion of the land Baker’s acquired from government ten years ago somewhere in the vicinity of the concrete commercial wharf where the freight barges dock. A question arose whether the concrete wharf was for public use or private. It was said that Albury’s ferry brings 1,000 workmen to the development daily.
The Guana Cay fire chief asked Mr. Marshall if adapters could be provided allowing the Guana fire engine to connect with the resort’s fire system. The necessary adapters will be provided.
In other business, Sea Spray Resort on Elbow Cay was about to be given legal notice to remove recent unauthorized construction. However, given Sea Spray’s past record of compliance, the council felt it fair to issue them a letter of warning and require that they apply and pay for a permit. It was noted that the construction concerned a walkway that was an improvement over a collapsing section used by the public.